Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hollywood's Constructed Languages

The New York Times today featured an article detailing the rise of constructed languages in Hollywood's recent sci-fi movies. The article is worth reading in its entirety, and the clips of spoken Dothraki, a language invented for an HBO series, applied to life in New York City are pretty cool. Here's an excerpt from the article that connects recent developments in Hollywood to the history of constructed languages:
There have been many attempts to create languages, often for specific political effect. In the 1870s, a Polish doctor invented Esperanto, meant to be a simplified international language that would bring world peace. Suzette Haden Elgin created Láaden as a language better suited for expressing women’s points of view. (Láaden has a single word, “bala,” that means “I’m angry for a reason but nothing can be done about it.”)

But none of the hundreds of languages created for social reasons developed as ardent a following as those created for movies, television and books, says Arika Okrent, author of “In the Land of Invented Languages.”

“For years people have been trying to engineer better languages and haven’t succeeded as well as the current era of language for entertainment sake alone,” Ms. Okrent said.

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